I'm happy to say I can start this new series of posts with a bang, an interview with one of my dearest friends, Dawn, whom I met at one of my favorite sites, the Starving Jewelry Artists forum back then, now the Jewelry Artisans Community. I own several pieces she made, with this pendant of Merlin of course being the one dearest to my heart.
Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.
Originally from Canada, I have lived in beautiful Northern California most of my life. When not working as a school secretary, I enjoy travel, gardening (have a black thumb, but I keep trying), reading (thoroughly enjoying The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes at the moment), cooking gourmet meals and spending time with my husband and our black lab.
What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?
I paint tiny pendants - most not much larger than an American quarter and turn them into hand crafted jewelry designs. Along with the pendants I often paint wood beads to match and incorporate those into the designs along with semi-precious stones and copper.
Copper wire work is often part of my designs as well. While not a natural at working with wire, I have put in a lot of effort and practice to improve my skills. I think I can honestly say that I'm to the point that my wire work is adequate. I started out using copper wire as I didn't want to waste sterling silver when I knew I'd be going through a lot of wire during the learning process. Over time, I've come to love the warm, beautiful tones of oxidized copper and now use it almost exclusively.
Wire weaving is a technique I've recently added to my designs and I find it fascinating. Using this method, I'm adding wire woven frames to some of my pendants.
|Painted miniature seagull pendant with wire woven frame|
Jewelry making found me by accident. A friend sent me some charms from the famous Lascaux caves in France and I wanted to turn them into a bracelet, but didn't have a clue how to proceed. That led me to visit the local bead store one day and ask how it's done. I was shown how to put a crimp bead on beading wire and was immediately hooked. The possibilities seemed endless once I crimped that first crimp bead. It was like an "aha" moment.
I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?
Color, nature and shape all influence my work. Something as simple as the shape of a lamp could end up being the inspiration for a pair of earrings.
It's always amazing to me that a field of wildflowers can be a riot of color, yet none of it clashes; all those colors look fabulous together. I'm drawn to the randomness and lack of color rules found in a field of wildflowers.
Tell us a fun thing about yourself.
Don't tell anyone, but I often talk in my sleep. At least my sleepwalking days seem to be over!
Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?
No, it's always been drawing and painting for me. It's done on a much smaller scale now than in the past and pairing it with jewelry design is very fulfilling creatively.
Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?
This is a question that always has the same answer. My favorite piece is the one I'm currently working on. In order for me to focus my full attention and do my best work it has to be. When it's done, I may admire it, but once I start the next project, it becomes my new favorite piece.
As far as hardest goes, those are usually ones where I'm using a new technique that I'm not completely familiar with, which causes me to obsess over whether or not it's good enough. Usually I end up making whatever it is over and over until I feel that the craftsmanship is something I'm comfortable showing to others. I make myself crazy over this sometimes!
Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?
There are many jewelry artists whom I admire. Some do work that I may never tackle like incredibly intricate works of art with seed beads. Artists who have mastered working with precious metal clay and polymer clay produce fascinating pieces. There is some fantastic wire work out there that makes my jaw drop. Don't even get me started on those who do beautiful work with metal - you'll never get me to shut up! Mostly, I admire those who are innovative, original, and who continually strive to grow in and perfect their craft.
If you had free choice of one supply you need for your craft/art, what would it be?
I really had to think about this question.
My first thought was a studio - a real honest to goodness serious studio where I could spread out my work and have stations dedicated to painting, wire work, photography and hopefully some day torching and playing with metal.
After thinking about it some more, I came to the conclusion that the one thing I'd really like is time. There is never enough time to accomplish all the things I would like to do. It's a funny thing about time. It's not a tangible thing that one can buy, hold in their hands or look at, yet I think most of us wish we had more of it.
Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?
Yes, I can be found at Jewelry Art by Dawn on ArtFire.
Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?
I love what I do and each piece I make reflects just how much by the time, care and detail that goes into them. I want the people who own my pieces to love them as much as I loved creating them and always have that thought in the back of my mind when making a new jewelry design.
I'd also like to tell the world how much I appreciate you for this feature about my work. You're awesome, Cat, thank you so much! (I seriously thought about leaving that out, but maybe you have fun imagining my dark red face right now ... my Latin teacher kept saying flushing like that is good for the skin! ;-))
|Painted Luna moth pendant with wired beads chain|
Actually I think I'm the one who has to thank Dawn for letting us take a look into her creative brain!
Check out her shop, there's so much more to see than I have been able to cover here!